The Sri Lanka Association for Child Development (SLACD) will be hosting their fifth biennial science conference today (22) and tomorrow (23), to be held at the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) from 8 a.m. onwards.
Themed “Together we can: Enhance, Empower, and Engage”, the conference will discuss a number of essentials for child development. The SLACD encourages not only medical professionals but also parents to join the event; an online link is available for registration, for free.
The SLACD is at present the only organisation in the medical field that not only features medical specialists but also specialists from numerous other fields. Speaking to SLACD Treasurer and paediatric neurologist Dr. Piyara Dilani Ratnayake, she shared that the purpose of the SLACD is to promote, facilitate, and support the advancement of knowledge and skills, research, and interest in child development and developmental disorders in children. She added that they, as an organisation, have strived to apply these purposes for the welfare of children concerned, their families, and the community through activities determined by the Council of the SLACD.
She said that it is an organisation where professionals from multiple fields get together in order to work towards the common goal of furthering child developmental outcomes, and she provided that their focus groups prioritise all children and are not limited to children facing developmental challenges. “It is in order to provide for the best possible developmental outcome for any and all children; not particularly paying special attention to any particular group, and focusing on achieving the best potential outcome in our work,” she said.
Dr. Ratnayake shared that as the conference is broken into two days, the first day will focus on two primary topics of “Early detection” and “Early intervention”. She said that the focus areas and sessions will discuss the essential time periods in a child’s development stages, particularly referring to the developing brain when it is at its smartest, which is at its earliest, and the first month, first 1,000 days, three-year, and five-year milestones.
Participants will also get an introduction into the autism spectrum disorder (ASD), followed by a multidisciplinary assessment on cerebral palsy.
She said that they will also focus on exposure to electronic devices, particularly during these Covid times where we are unable to be amongst people physically and often interact through screens. She also pointed out that they will introduce access for parents and caregivers to a tele-health service. Additionally, they will feature sessions on how to improve development and learning through various devices available to us.
The second day will be dedicated to discussing behaviour and associated problems in children and adolescents, featuring common behavioural problems during childhood and their management and the impact on child mental health. Additionally, the session to be held tomorrow will discuss child protection issues in children with disability, including a panel discussion on vocational training and integration into society.
Many of the sessions will be carried out by specialists joining in from abroad, representing their various fields of expertise and reputed institutions.
Free registration is available for virtual participation and you can register for both days. Visit the SLACD website at https://slacd.lk/.